Baroness Warsi ‘failed to register rent of over £5,000’

By Charles Maggs

Former Conservative party chairman Baroness Warsi has been found guilty of failing to declare thousands of pounds worth of rental income by a House of Lords investigation.

Warsi didn't declare rents of £6,937 per year from a flat she had bought in Wembley in 2007 – the House of Lords committee for privileges and conduct found.

The complaint followed a Sunday Times exposé on the Baroness in May this year. A formal complaint was made by Jon Mann MP.

"The commissioner has upheld the complaint in respect of Baroness Warsi's failure to register rental income in the register of lords' interests," the report concluded.

"Baroness Warsi has accepted the commissioner's finding and apologised; the matter has therefore been dealt with by means of remedial action and is now closed."

Warsi did not believe she had to declare the rents as the flat made a loss of over £300 in 2010/11, however all interests that produce an income of over £5,000 must be declared.

The 'remedial action' takes the form of a written apology by Warsi, in which she blames herself entirely.

"Due to an oversight, for which I take full responsibility, I did not address the question of whether the property needed to be included on the register of lords' interests when the rent came to exceed the £5,000 threshold," she said.

"Throughout the process, I have endeavoured to ensure the relevant authorities have been notified at all times. The fact that I owned, and was letting out, the flat was known to Cabinet Office, the leader of the House, and HM Revenue and Customs.

"As soon as I became aware that the flat was not included on the register of lords' interests, I immediately informed the registrar."

But the 30-page report cleared Warsi of wrongdoing over claims for overnight subsistence – which she had referred herself to the commissioner over.

Complaints were upheld against two other peers, Labour's Lord Elder and Ukip's Lord Willoughby de Broke, for breaches of conduct.
Warsi was removed as party co-chairman in September and is now a junior minister in the foreign office as well as minister for faith and communities.